Sauvie Island Bridge

Statistics:

  • Year opened: 2008
  • Total length: 1,185 feet
  • Vehicle clearance: 28 feet
  • Travel lanes: Two 12-foot lanes
  • Shoulders: Two 6-foot shoulders bikes can use
  • Sidewalks: Six feet on each side
  • Cost: $50 million

Construction of the Sauvie Island Bridge began in early 2006 and was completed in 2008. This bridge serves as a gateway from outlying urban and industrial areas to the country island setting. The bridge features a main arch of weathering steel that extends above and below the deck. The main arch that spans the Multnomah Channel of the Columbia River is 365 feet long and 82 feet tall at its highest point. The arch is made up of hundreds of steel components connected by tens of thousands of bolts.

Fought and Company fabricated the weathering steel that composes the arch, which forms a thin, protective exterior coating of brown rust that requires little maintenance. The dark brown of the steel, along with the wheat-colored concrete, were designed to fit the rural setting.

To ensure that all the necessary parts fit together, Fought assembled every steel section at its Tigard plant nine miles away from the project site. The arch was disassembled and trucked in pieces to the Port of Portland’s Terminal 2 on the Willamette River north of the Fremont Bridge. There it was reassembled by Schneider Up ironworkers and prepared for final installation. The main arch span was then rolled onto a barge for a journey downriver to Sauvie Island where it was lowered into place on the new bridge. ODOT produced a short video about this difficult engineering feat.

A grand opening celebration was held for the new Sauvie Island Bridge on June 22, 2008. More than a thousand island residents and visitors from around the region turned out for the parade, dedication ceremony, live music and booths featuring island products, history and visitor attractions.

The tied-arch bridge replaces the first bridge to the island, which was built in 1950. Prior to bridge construction, the only way to get to and from the island was by boat or ferry. The old bridge was unable to support the weight of modern trucks, which put island farms and businesses at a disadvantage. The new bridge has improved facilities for motor vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, as well as improved resistance to earthquakes. By ensuring that island businesses can carry full loads, the bridge helps preserve Sauvie Island’s agriculture and rural way of life for generations to come. 

Location map